[dropcap size=small]E[/dropcap]ntering the seemingly antique walkway to Cherry Garden is like stepping into an elegant and graceful world, one where a gentle repast can be had in a rarefied atmosphere akin to that of a traditional Chinese residence. Make a request to not be seated at the elevated area near the entrance, as the noise from the conversations is distracting when all four tables are occupied.
The recent refurbishment has added charcoal teak panels and slate floors, and a huge private room that can seat 24. Big windows look out onto a garden of sorts and let in lots of natural light in the day. It’s a perfect setting for executive Chinese chef Cheng Hon Chau’s Cantonese cuisine.
Begin with a charcoal-roasted barbecue meat platter of roast duck, roast pork belly, and honey-glazed Kurobuta char siew – juicy and succulent, it’s one of the best in town. The signature thick superior lobster soup with conpoy and seaweed as well as the golden pumpkin soup with morel mushroom and diced chicken both come highly recommended. Any Cantonese restaurant worth its salt would have a beef dish, and chef Cheng’s version uses A4 Miyazaki wagyu sirloin, pan-fried and served with a garlic barbecue sauce – every bite is tender and tasty.
A recommendation from the waitstaff that turns out better than expected is the braised homemade tofu with monkey head mushroom and green vegetable. The tofu, crispy-skinned and spinach-topped, is surprisingly delicious. Do leave room for the fragrant five grain fried rice – jasmine rice, glutinous rice, wild rice, barley, corn – toothsome and nutritious with Cantonese pork sausage adding an umami kick. End on a refreshing note with the cherries in nu er hong and aged osmanthus wine cocktail jelly with lychee sorbet.
Service is attentive, knowledgeable and warm. Even in the recommendation and serving of wine by the glass, the staff make a wholehearted effort to ensure that it suits our tastes perfectly.
Level 5, Mandarin Oriental Singapore, S(039797)